Mumbai, India

March 15. Wednesday, 6:50am. Good morning blog followers. I forgot to tell you what Kerala means. It is translated as “Land of the Coconut Trees” hence all the coconut products from this area. It is also a big cashew growing area. Enough about nuts. Well, one more thing. Driving in this country is NUTS!!! We are traveling north up the coastline to Mumbai (used to be called Bombay). We port tomorrow morning. I can hardly wait to see more people and travel amongst the hordes. Another scary adventure! This city has 18 million people. OMG!! Almost half of it live in slum like conditions. One of the world’s largest slums is called Dharavi and is here in Mumbai. It contains around one MILLION people. This city was first colonized by the Portuguese as a trading port and called Bom Bahia which meant “good bay”. India still, somewhat, uses the Caste System. Quite complicated. It has to do with heredity I think. You’ll have to look it up to understand it.
1:15pm. We heard this morning, from one of our pickle ballers, that a cargo ship off the Somali coast was pirated. Then, at 11:50, the captain informed us that we would be staying in Dubai an extra day. Coincidence? We will see. Here’s a ship quiz for you. I’ll name the ship and you name the captains. Some may be repeated. 1. Golden Hind 2. Santa Maria 3. Endeavour 4. Half Moon 5. Resolution 6. Matthew 7. Beagle 8. Trinidad. Good luck! Here’s some more questions. Where did the Endeavour sink and during what war? What European was the first to discover Hawaii?Makes you all feel like you were still in Jr. High, doesn’t it? I love it!!! Here’s something I didn’t tell you yesterday. The red dot on the Indian forehead is called a “Bindi”. Some men also wear them for different religious reasons.
March 16. Thursday, 7:46pm. We sure saw lots of people and vehicles today, especially little taxis. Mumbai is named for the mother goddess of the sea, Mumba. India is about a third the size of the US. It has over a billion people. We saw most of them today. We photographed a rail station called Victoria Terminus. Our guide said three to six million people go through this station A DAY!!!! Some railway cars are separated for men, women, invalids, pregnant women, etc. Mumbai is the largest city in India, not New Delhi which is the capital. The famous Bollywood is located here. We visited Dhobi Ghat, the largest open air washing machine in the world. No machines, just men washing tons of clothing, tablecloths, linens, etc. All this stuff hanging outside to dry. Amazing!! We also saw the “Dabbawalas”. I’ll let you look this one up. Double amazing!!!! The word “seething” comes to mind when describing Mumbai. No beef is served or eaten here, although dairy products are permitted.The cow is sacred and can’t be killed. India produces more milk than any other country in the world. “Curry” here is considered more of a gravy then a spice. Tea is the drink of choice.
Here are the answers to the nautical questions in the last? blog. Forthering is covering a hole in the ship’s side with sailcloth to stem the flow of water coming into the ship until they can repair the hole. Careening is allowing the ship to ground at high tide. When the tide goes out, the sailors can winch, from shore, the ship onto it’s side to repair the hole. I think they better hurry up, though! Way to go, Susan Marie! Nitey nite. Signed, Captain, Jose Gaspar